In a narrow vote, the Naperville City Council has banned the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in pet stores beginning in 2021.
The west Chicago suburb’s city council voted 5-4 in favor of the ordinance Tuesday night. The ordinance is aimed at preventing dogs from puppy mills and irresponsible sellers from being sold at area stores.
"I cried. It was relief, joy and disbelief that it was finally over," Kerin Smith, who founded the group Go Humane Naperville, said after the vote. "We finally did it."
The measure, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2021, allows pet stores to sell dogs and cats, but only if they are from humane groups or a shelter.
"Naperville is a family friendly community and part of our family is our animals," City Councilwoman Patty Gustin said. "This is a step in the right direction."
The owner of a Petland in the suburb and others reportedly opposed to the ban said it would lead to the closure of two area pet stores and would limit options available for consumers.
"This option closes two more pet stores," Petland owner Carl Swanson said. "Despite what the opposition may say, this is not a real choice."
Swanson issued a statement, saying that he was disappointed in the results of the vote:
“As expected, I am disappointed in the results of the vote by Naperville City Council," Carl Swanson, owner of the Petlands in Naperville and Chicago Ridge said in a statement. "A Naperville business of 28 years will be forced to change to a business model that has been proven to fail and this will cause the importation of more unregulated rescue and shelter dogs into Illinois. I feel for the thousands of people in Naperville that visit our store and enjoy our purebred puppies that will now turn to the unregulated internet to fill the ever growing demand. We have been completely transparent in our sourcing of purebred puppies, we only work with the best USDA breeders, and we have shared repeatedly that we have a unique business model that cannot adapt to the big box store approach. This vote was reached based upon emotional conjecture and accusations by animal rights groups that had little to do with the truth.”
Still, animal rights advocates and others supporting the ban reported several dogs bought from such pet stores were ill and that some locations charge high interest financing rates for such animals.